Portsmouth needs Fallon’s Midas touch, not Gosport

COMMENT: Carrier sends out a strong message to the world

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So, is the Minister for Portsmouth spinning us a yarn, a Fallon fallacy perhaps?

The man, who we are asked to believe has the economic future of this great city in his gift, rolls into town with his back pocket bulging with wads of notes.

Then he promptly announces that most of it is going... to Gosport.

Brilliant. What a great PR move that was.

Next Michael Fallon announces some airy-fairy idea about offering £5m to companies which can make ships more environmentally-friendly.

We are certainly not denegrating the millions on offer for the enterprise zone at the old Daedalus airfield at Lee-on-the-Solent.

Nor are we going to rubbish the notion that ships, both military and merchant, should burn less fuel and emit fewer pollutants from their funnels.

But what we are concerned about is the lack of a cogent, immediate and headline-grabbing tranche of aid for Portsmouth.

Yes, the Portsmouth where thousands of jobs are about to disappear in the shipbuilding industry thanks to the government’s inability to give our yard enough work to tide us over until the new Type 26 frigates come on stream.

Mr Fallon, on his first official visit to the city, said what we all know: ‘There is huge potential in this city to grow, to create a more widely-based economy.

‘I’ve heard about the plans all day, we just need to start bringing all this together.’

If it is that obvious Mr Fallon, why did you not kick off your new role with a solid announcement of millions specifically for Portsmouth?

You are neither Minister for Gosport nor south Hampshire.

To take a more charitable view, it could be argued that the Daedalus Enterprise Zone is a project with a long history just needing a cash injection to kick-start it. It was an easy win, a pipe-opener to launch Mr Fallon’s new job.

We just hope Mr Fallon’s debut here was simply the beginning of an era which will bring millions specifically to the city.

What Portsmouth needs is not a Fallon fallacy but a legacy.